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  #661  
Old 08-22-2015, 09:44 PM
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Only 10 of the nations that officially speak French are members of the Commonwealth. The biggest one is Canada. The majority of the places a British monarchy will go someone will be most often speaking English to them.


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  #662  
Old 08-22-2015, 10:15 PM
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Most Canadians don't speak French even if they study it at school. I know a number of Canadians who learnt French at school and can't understand a word of it now because they never hear it or use it in their day to day lives in Canada.


I have travelled all over the world and the only time I came across any problems with speaking only one language - English - was in Paris (not the rest of France mind you but in Paris). Nowhere else have I ever had a problem and what I do find is that other people want to practise their English with me and don't want me to practise any schoolgirl French or Italian I may still remember after I have said 'hello' in their language. Paris was a different matter - where every Parisian I meet refused to help me as I didn't speak perfect French and that has been the experience of many people I know - rest of France lovely but Paris just arrogant (the only other time I came up against that attitude but to a lesser degree was in a couple of places in Amsterdam but other Dutch people soon stepped in and helped and even talked to me in English).


The government here in NSW has tried to force students to learn a language other than English by making it compulsory to study a modern foreign language for 100 hours in one school year during either Years 7 or 8 with the expectation that a lot will continue but the stats are the opposite with relatively few non-native speakers studying a language, other than English which is compulsory to the end of school, to the higher years of school. My school, for instance, teaches all Year 7s Japanese and then Japanese becomes elective in Year 8 (students are allowed one elective choice in that year from a limited range - and then 2 choices for Years 9 and 10 although Japanese, if selected in Year 9 must be continued into Year 10). Next year we don't have sufficient students choosing Japanese to run a class in Year 8 (5 out of 106 students put it down as a choice) so in that year no students will study a second language at school unless they are already bilingual and are studying another language outside of school e.g. Greek or Arabic.


William not being able to speak another language is of very little concern to most people as they know that English is good enough to get him through. More importantly he needs to understand the history and culture of the various nations of which he will be King and then the others of the Commonwealth. As for the rest of the world - less important again.


If he need to speak a language other than English that is spoken in the Commonwealth then Hindi would be the next most widely spoken surely.
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  #663  
Old 08-23-2015, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Mbruno View Post
French is the official language of 29 countries. It is also one of the official working languages of the UN, the EU, the OECD, and several other international organizations. It may no longer be an essential language for science and business, but I wouldn't go as far as calling it an "unimportant" language. I would say French still ranks high among the major world languages along with Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Russian, and maybe German. English of course is in a different league, but I believe it would be presumptuous to assume that English is the only language that matters at the international level.
French isn't unimportant, but it is increasingly passé (yes, I realize the irony of using that term, lol). My academic and professional background is in international politics and, on that level, French was never a big deal. At my university (where I was in a specialized international affairs school), people weren't clamoring to study French. Some people did take French classes, but generally it was because it was what they had already taken French in high school. I studied French a bit, just out of curiosity, but I've only ever had to use it once, when I was in a small town in France, and the people there spoke nothing other than French. French has traditionally been known as the diplomatic language, but these days it's not used as much in practice, though it is indeed one of the official languages of several international organizations (most of which were founded decades ago). However, when it comes to world leaders communicating at the G8 or G20, or other summits, English is typically spoken. For William, the ability to speak French would be a nice bonus, but he doesn't need it. If it was felt that it was of particular importance in his role, I really think there would have been a greater emphasis on it in his education (and not just at school, but he could have tutors to help him keep up with it, etc.). I'm under the impression that that's the sort of thing the Queen would weigh in on, though I could be wrong.
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  #664  
Old 08-23-2015, 03:51 AM
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Personally I love Paris. I just find them busy, just like London and Paris is alot less rude than London IMHO.
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  #665  
Old 08-23-2015, 03:53 AM
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Exactly Skippy. Plus, Kate was seen having a conversation with the french president when they were in Belgium. Isn't he known for not knowing english? In that case, Kate can fill in when french small talk is needed.
Président M François Hollande speaks English but as Président de la République of the country which gave the world Molière, Beaumarchais, Baudelaire or Proust he is of course not willing to use English all and everywhere.

Watch M Hollande speaking English: .

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  #666  
Old 08-23-2015, 03:57 AM
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When Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (a native Dutch speaker) made a State Visit to King Juan Carlos of Spain (a native Spanish speaker) the table-speeches at the State Banquet were held in... French. This was in 1985.
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  #667  
Old 08-23-2015, 10:01 AM
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Most English speakers do not need to speak another language and never will. However, here in the U.S., I've seen more and more service jobs want employees who are bilingual in English and Spanish. In the U.S., students used to study French, but this has now switched to Spanish, as pragmatically it is far more important. This is not an issue for William. Similarly, if William ever goes to Paris, I'll bet the Parisians will line up to speak to him in English

Regardless of whether you think he is suitable to be King, his mastery of a foreign tongue is really not the concern. For other monarchs, the same does not necessarily hold true. They really need to master a foreign tongue, highest on the list is English. In that the Danish royal children are very fortunate to have a native speaking English mother. I'm sure they are all naturally fluent, with an Aussie twang.
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  #668  
Old 08-23-2015, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Iluvbertie View Post



I have travelled all over the world and the only time I came across any problems with speaking only one language - English - was in Paris (not the rest of France mind you but in Paris). Nowhere else have I ever had a problem and what I do find is that other people want to practise their English with me and don't want me to practise any schoolgirl French or Italian I may still remember after I have said 'hello' in their language.


I've had the same experience trying to speak to someone in Germany.

Years ago, there were many more Europeans who didn't speak English, but now everyone you meet will say "I speak English!"
They are eager to employ their English and don't need you stumbling through their native tongue.

People always say Americans are terrible at other languages, but as someone said, what you are taught in school fades from your mind if you don't use it.
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  #669  
Old 08-23-2015, 10:22 AM
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I really don't know what suitability means with regards to being Monarch. Is Charles more suited than the Queen? HM will be a tough act to follow.

As it is if William became King today he is a university graduate. He served almost 8 years full-time in the military. He's been on numerous foreign tours representing both the Queen and Government.

As far as the 'criticism' of him not wanting the job well I don't think anyone does. They just do it.

If you read the diary of George V you'd have thought he was being sent to his execution rather than becoming King.

George VI cried on his mother's shoulder when he got the news. I think its a healthy attitude to have.

The problem for William is people want him to be king now. He isn't even the heir to the throne.
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  #670  
Old 08-23-2015, 10:33 AM
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The Duke Of Cambridge's inability to speak French doesn't affect is suitability to be King whatsoever, but nevertheless I regard speaking it, [or another foreign language] to be the mark of a Gentleman. Such an ability speaks of an awareness of others, of their culture and of history.
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  #671  
Old 08-23-2015, 10:47 AM
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Prince William's Suitability to be King

How can anyone openly want a job that can only be achieved with the death of your parent?

Throughout the tours that William had done there has been a great awareness of the local customs and cultural be it in Canada, Tuvalu, China, NZ or Japan.

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  #672  
Old 08-23-2015, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by wyevale View Post
The Duke Of Cambridge's inability to speak French doesn't affect is suitability to be King whatsoever, but nevertheless I regard speaking it, [or another foreign language] to be the mark of a Gentleman. Such an ability speaks of an awareness of others, of their culture and of history.
Amen, oh yes, so Amen to that!
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  #673  
Old 08-23-2015, 12:41 PM
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I don't think it's entirely fair to judge William based on his linguistic knowledge because, for all we know, he could very well just be the type of person who is struggling a bit with learning languages – which is fine because we're all good at different things. The extent of his knowledge of foreign languages does not affect his suitability to be King whatsoever.

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Well.. In a way, yes. A person who goes into politics wanting to get the top job is not a good politician in my mind. The good ones are the ones that are engaged about a cause or a party and therefore "Stumbled" into politics or saw that as the best way to make a difference. Not the top job per se.
As I see it, there are two types of politicians – the ones who go into politics because they want to make a change and the ones who go into it because they want power. Regardless of whether you've "stumbled" into politics, as you put it (and, being politically active in various youth organisations, I can tell you that being involved in politics is an active choice, not something you stumble into), or just want power, the main goal is to get as much influence as possible. And influence = influential position = top job. Being engaged about causes and passionate about values is all good and well but you need a platform from which you can actually use that passion, that engagement – and you don't find it in the back row of the parliament. There's nothing grandiose about that.
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  #674  
Old 08-23-2015, 01:11 PM
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Languages really do seem like a continental issue. As I already stated Canada is 'officially' bilingual but I'd have to turn on a french speaking television station to hear it used around these parts.

Quebec is obsessed with the English. They even make it illegal to use English in government. I think its a holdover from centuries of military defeat at the hands of the English.

When William used french during his visit to Montreal in 2011 everyone applauded. They appreciated the gesture.

On this subject though I get the distinct feeling if William could speak french people would then say 'so what' he'll never use it
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  #675  
Old 08-23-2015, 01:33 PM
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Hmmm... suitability to be King? Is Charles more suitable to be King than the present Queen? Of course he is. He, perhaps, is one of the best dressed men in the world and his suits are impeccable. Now with William, he really does need to branch out from the ever present blue suits. Maybe gray or pinstripes or even a dashing seersucker for hot weather.

Had to do it. Each monarch makes his/her own stamp on the monarchy and after preparing and heading towards that top job since birth, I think the public with keeping an eagle eye on such persons can pretty much come up with a rough idea what their reigns will be like when the time comes. With the Queen, most of us have never known another monarch in the UK and she represents duty, continuity and dedication. For me, personally, I've dubbed The Prince of Wales' role as monarch as Charles the Green and I definitely can picture Charles becoming known as the monarch who favored sustainability. William? I just get the sneaking suspicion that he very well could be dubbed "The People's King" just on his reputation for wanting to be of service as a "normal" person and his charisma in making everyone he meets feel like they're the most important person in the room.

Its not how they speak or what they speak or how they dress or where they go or what they have done or even if they put the right shoe on first or the left, it boils down to what they do once they hold the position as monarch. It may mean overcoming obstacles such as George VI with his stammer. Speaking French or Swahili would not have served him well leading his people through WWII. With our world changing sometimes in a blink of an eye, what will matter is the monarch's ability to relate to the people and the world around them.
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  #676  
Old 08-23-2015, 02:51 PM
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As PW said and I am aware I am paraphrasing, no one could ever have foreseen the enormous changes HM seen during her reign. Who knows what we will see in Prince Charles reign, and the whole point of a an heir is they are next in line to the throne, so by the time PW becomes king, who knows what the role will entail. We don't even know if there will be a Monarchy? This is a role both his father and he have been brought up to perform, all their lives, is it not?
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  #677  
Old 08-23-2015, 02:52 PM
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Languages really do seem like a continental issue. As I already stated Canada is 'officially' bilingual but I'd have to turn on a french speaking television station to hear it used around these parts.

Quebec is obsessed with the English. They even make it illegal to use English in government. I think its a holdover from centuries of military defeat at the hands of the English.

When William used french during his visit to Montreal in 2011 everyone applauded. They appreciated the gesture.

On this subject though I get the distinct feeling if William could speak french people would then say 'so what' he'll never use it

I agree here.

William has no need to be fluently bilingual in any language, and expecting him to be so is a bit ridiculous. He speaks English fluently and while being bi- or multi-lingual might be beneficial in the business world, in the diplomatic one (which is the world William lives in) fluency in English is the must, not French, Chinese, Spanish, etc.

This is something that sets him (and the British) apart from other royals; there is reason why a Swedish or Norwegian Royal, particularly the heir, would be expected to learn English, but a British one would not be expected to learn Swedish or Norwegian.

What William needs to be able to do is not be fluent in another language but to be able to go to Quebec and give a speech in understandable French, or to go to Wales and give a speech in Welsh - to be seen as trying to make that extra effort without actually dedicating himself to learning a language that 99% of the time he's not going to use.

And for the importance of French in Canada... I'm not going to say it's not important, because there is a huge French heritage here and there are considerable Franco-phone communities both inside and outside of Quebec that should not be overlooked. But at the same time, there have been 15 Prime Ministers of Canada, 2 who spoke no French, 5 who had rudimentary French, and 2 who had passable French. Plus 1 who had passable English.
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  #678  
Old 08-23-2015, 03:07 PM
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I recall a documentary on Queen Elizabeth where she spoke French while on a visit to France. The narrator referred to her French as "school girl" or something to that effect, but the effort was appreciated. So, going by that, it does not seem like her French speaking was any better than her grandson's.
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  #679  
Old 08-23-2015, 03:54 PM
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What William needs to be able to do is not be fluent in another language but to be able to go to Quebec and give a speech in understandable French, or to go to Wales and give a speech in Welsh - to be seen as trying to make that extra effort without actually dedicating himself to learning a language that 99% of the time he's not going to use.

This whole topic reminds me of JFK in Germany and his famous speech Ich bin ein Berliner!

What he was really saying is: I am a jelly doughnut!

But the crowd cheered anyway because they knew what he was trying to do.
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  #680  
Old 08-23-2015, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Duc_et_Pair View Post
When Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (a native Dutch speaker) made a State Visit to King Juan Carlos of Spain (a native Spanish speaker) the table-speeches at the State Banquet were held in... French. This was in 1985.
But those are old-school people. Just because it was held in the 80s, doesn't mean it was modern. These were old people.
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